Many of you may have been wondering what happened yesterday when after a heartwarming departure from McMinnville airport in Oregon, in front of well-wishers, new friends and the assembled ranks of the media, why half way through his flight Norman turned Roxy around and returned to the airport he had not long left behind, for what he thought would be the last time.
All will be explained in Norman's own words...
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After a tremendous send-off day yesterday from both the Museum and from McMinnville Airport, the weather then decided to throw the proverbial spanner into the works!
I departed lightly loaded from the Museum, using the car park access roads: as good as they have been for all my various local flights of late they are not comparable to the 5,420 ft Main Runway sitting just across the highway at McMinnville Municipal Airport. So I landed there to load Roxy up with all my luggage. Re-packing the Gyro for the expedition flight was both nostalgic and frustrating...great to be finally getting loaded up for our 'Flying Road-trip' across America, the aircraft looks and feels much different when loaded heavy, but it's slightly frustrating too as various items in the luggage are always packed away in the wrong place.
On heading out from Larne originally, I remember it took me about 2 weeks to finally get every item in the bag or storage places that it needed to go in...and I expect it will now again take a few flying days to really settle in and get organised properly.
Once packed (approximately at least) and ready, I departed 'heavy', bound for Tillamook. I reached about half way to the coast before the broken confused cloud base, that had been flyable, became more organised and presented itself as an unbroken wall of white. As the mountain range and tree-lined ridge climbed, the cloud base reduced and soon enough the two met and closed the path ahead. I investigated a couple of route options, always mindful to retain my 'escape route' back out to the east, only to meet the same impassable conditions.
|The point where the tracker showed something had changed|
In the event it was a very easy decision to turn back, there was simply no safe passage ahead. This morning a similar weather pattern has continued and as I write this piece for the blog, I am very happy to look out the window at a very soggy and misty Aircraft Museum as it makes you feel much more relaxed when the vexing decision that has to be made by all pilots over whether to commit to flying that day or not is easily made for you by the weather.
|Great weather for ducks...|
|Weather not so good for little autogyro's|
Tomorrow the weather is looking to be improving, so hopefully we can saddle up once again and head off for them thar hills once more.
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We will of course bring you the latest updates as we get them, including any news on the re-start of the flight.
The Gyrox Team